Difference Between FTP and TFTP

Following table describes the differences between FTP and TFTP.

Stands for File Transfer Protocol Trivial File Transfer Protocol
Transport Layer Protocol (Layer 4) TCP (Connection oriented and reliable protocol) UDP (Connection-less and less reliable protocol, but much faster than TCP)
Network Layer Protocol (Layer 3) IPv4 or IPv6 IPv4 or IPv6
Ports used TCP Ports 20 (Data) and 21 (Control) UDP 69
Authentication Authentication is possible Authentication is not possible
Complexity FTP is more complex than TFTP TFTP is less complex than FTP
Commands FTP has many commands for file operations TFTP has only five messages
Software Size Since more complex, FTP Client and Server software size is more Since less complex, TFTP Client and Server software size is less compared with FTP
Connection Errors Since FTP uses TCP, network connection errors (lost packets, checksum errors etc) are handled by TCP. TCP is a reliable protocol. Since TFTP uses UDP, connection errors are handled by (lost packets, checksum errors etc) are handled by the TFTP software itself. UDP is not a reliable protocol.
Security Authentication is possible in FTP. Hence, FTP is considered more secure than TFTP. There is no authentication possible in TFTP. Hence, TFTP is considered less secure than FTP.
Use FTP is used for file transfer in LAN, intranet and internet. TFTP is mainly used for network booting and copying OS and configuration files from routers and switches, typically within LAN.

Related Tutorials
What is TFTP (Trivial File Transfer Protocol)
Important RFCs related with TFTP
TFTP Message Types
TFTP RRQ (Read Request) packet
TFTP WRQ (Write Request) packet
TFTP Data Packet
TFTP ACK (Acknowledge) Packet
TFTP Error Packet
TFTP Client and TFTP Server
How TFTP works